Will Indians finally get minimum speeds of 2 Mbps?
In what could only mean good news, the government is finally waking up to the need for providing high-speed internet along with increasing digital coverage. It has already kickstarted the process of boosting the current minimum speed of 512kbps to at least 2 Mbps. According to Akamai Technologies, India improved its speed from 3.5Mbps (2016) to 6.5Mbps (2017), but it still ranked 89th globally.
The stats have been similar across different studies. In August, Speedtest ranked India 74/133 in broadband. In mobile internet, only 10/122 fared worse than India. Speedtest put the average mobile internet speed in India at 8.18Mbps as compared to the global average of 52.3Mbps.
Several factors are at play. The huge population implies a heavy load on providers; network congestion is the norm. The government charges high spectrum prices from telcos; operators are also concerned about the limited availability of spectrum. Many cities don't allow laying of fibre optics for high-speed service. Then there are external factors like "subscriber's device quality, number of subscribers browsing, peak/off-peak time, etc".
At a time when the government is pushing for a Digital India, cashless economy, Smart Cities and 5G, reliable and fast internet is of utmost importance. "2Mbps is the basic minimum. If at all, it should be higher than that," said Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan. How the government decides to work towards its goal will determine if we will enjoy high-speed internet soon.